Saturday, April 20, 2013

FAQ: About The Fourth Book...

It will come as no surprise to my readers that I'm a huge Harry Potter fan.  I think J.K. Rowling is a genius and certainly her books are some of the most well worn on my shelf. In 2007, she surprised some of her fans by announcing that Dumbledore was gay.

Now, Dumbledore's background only became immediately relevant to the main story line in Deathly Hollows, when his relationship to Gellert Grindelwald played a role in the adventure.

Still, many readers didn't see the many clues Rowling dropped to his sexuality.  She wrote middle grade fiction and his background wasn't obvious, although it was important.

Why do I bring this up?  Because wether or not you as a reader picked up on the clues, Dumbledore's background colored his character from the very beginning.

What has this to do with The Soulkeepers?

I've received a few reviews that sound something like this:

First off, I find reviews like this personally attacking. They imply that I had some alternative motivation
than staying true to the story and the character. These accusations are false. If anything, I was motivated NOT to release book four, knowing there would be some small minded individuals who would drag it through the mud. But I'm not going to waste time thinking about hateful reviews.

What I really want to put in writing is that Dane was always gay (although closeted because he lived in Paris, IL.). If you didn't see it, here are some clues you might have missed but were there all along.

*Spoiler Alert*

In book one, Dane isn't himself because he's under the influence of Auriel's elixir.  However, he talks about feeling repressed by the expectations of his family.  And although Auriel is beautiful, his desire for her is always related to the drug she gives him that makes him feel free from this repression.

In Weaving Destiny, Dane takes an interest in organizing the prom, and is the only boy to do so. He goes to the prom without a date wearing a white tux with lavender cummerbund. Earlier in the book, when he is accused of "liking" Malini he suggests that he feels the same way for Jacob.  In effect his "closeness" to Malini (and Jacob) is a way for him to feel safe and calmed by their presence (not attraction to Malini herself).

In Return to Eden, Dane has an immediate connection to Ethan, hugs him with everything he's worth, and attends Abigail's wedding with him where he chooses to sit with Ethan rather than his parents.

So, here we are at Book 4. If you've read it, you know that Dane is still closeted. He's reacting to Ethan physically in the beginning of the book but making every excuse possible to not act on those feelings.  This is essential to the story because in every book, the main character dies:

  • In book one, Jacob dies and is brought back by Malini.
  • In book two, Malini dies and is brought back by Jacob.
  • In book three, Dr. Silva dies, is made human by God, and then brought back to life by Malini.
  • In book four, Dane dies, not literally but figuratively, to his expectations of himself and his family's expectations. When he lets go of the farm, and gives up on the closet, he dies to the person he's been trying to be for so long, and comes alive to the person he truly is. He saves himself.

It's no coincidence that Dane's power allows him to walk in other character's shoes.  The power is a flip side of his greatest weakness, which is to not be truthful about his own journey, i.e. to not see himself clearly.

So, you see, Dane has always been gay, was meant to be gay, and the story would not make sense or have deeper meaning if he wasn't gay.  I didn't throw it in on a whim because of some personal agenda. It was always there, even if you chose not to see it.

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